Rob has tagged me. I’ve had this particular meme once before, but I’m going to try it anyway and see if I come up with anything different.
Total number of books owned
About 1500, although my wife has just pointed out that many of them aren’t actually mine as such. (I had a big clearout a while back. If you’ve followed that link, I should point out that I do still own two biographies of Ezra Pound.)
Last book bought
Probably Busman’s Honeymoon; I had a Wimsey spree a while back. After that I very nearly bought Last Tango In Aberystwyth, but wiser counsels prevailed and I got it from the library. (Malcolm Pryce is good, but not that good. Besides, I’m economising.)
Last book read
Last one completed: When we were Romans by Matthew Kneale. Starts out very much sub-Dog in the Night-time (or sub-Walker Hamilton, of whom I was reminded when reading it) but develops into something sadder and darker. Last but one: Stardust by Neil Gaiman. Fun, but I felt it was done a bit too much for effect – effortful where it should have been playful.
Currently reading: no fiction, unless you count re-reading the A Series of Unfortunate Events books while reading them aloud to my daughter. (I tend to latch on to whatever someone else in the family is reading, as in the case of the last two.) I am reading Bryan Talbot’s beauteous phantasmagoria Alice in Sunderland, as well as Jean-Louis Briquet’s Mafia, justice et politique en Italie: L’affaire Andreotti dans la crise de la République (1992-2004), which I agreed to review in an optimistic moment. (I am reading it – just not quite as quickly as I’d anticipated.)
Five books that mean a lot to you
Nanni Balestrini and Primo Moroni (eds), L’orda d’oro: 1968-1977. La grande ondata rivoluzionaria e creativa, politica ed esistenziale
Worth learning Italian for. The subtitle says it all. (The main title means ‘The Golden Horde’; I was about halfway through the book before I realised it means that, rather than (for instance) ‘the golden turd’. It didn’t matter.)
Walker Hamilton, All the little animals
A novel which I borrowed, more than once, from Laugharne Library in 1973 and haven’t seen since. I see from ABE Books that it’s been reprinted – unlike Hamilton’s only other novel A Dragon’s Life, which will still set you back £30 or more.
Kazuo Ishiguro, The unconsoled
What a novel. I read The remains of the day, but I only got properly into Ishiguro when I read When we were orphans. I worked back to The unconsoled, which blew me away. A novel to get lost in. (But if you don’t like what you’re reading by the end of the second chapter, give up.)
Tom Phillips, A humument
Tom Phillips’s work has been a constant in my life for over 30 years. A humument is a touchstone for me – that’s how to do it. (Never mind what ‘it’ is.)
The Internationale Situationniste anthology.
After months poring over an old copy borrowed from a friend, I can still remember the thrill of getting hold of the reprint – all the more so when I found that the new edition included Debord’s notes on the Hamburg Theses!!!1!!1!! (OK, so it’s a minority taste. It’s my blog.)
As for tagging anyone else – well, I know I’ve done it before, but I can’t remember who else has. So I’ll take the easy way out and say that if you want it, you can take it – but leave a comment here so I know you’ve got it from me.
PS How did I do? One slightly different question – the number of books I’ve owned hasn’t changed much over two years. The Italians and the Sits were there in 2005, but along with Berger, Williams and Thompson instead of a couple of novelists and a painter (although, to be fair, I did give Phillips an hon mensh). I guess some years are more The unconsoled than The foot of Clive.